One in four families 'wrongly billed by energy supplier'

 

One in four families is wrongly billed by its energy
supplier, shock new research published today reveals.

It’s further evidence that energy firms’ cock-ups are leaving hard-up people in debt.

In fact more than 9 million households have unexpectedly ended up owing money to their energy supplier after a discrepancy between an estimated bill and a ‘real’ bill.

The average amount owed after an incorrect bill is now £152, according to uSwitch.

And energy firms – criticised for poor complaints handling by watchdog Ofgem last week – are failing to deal with their mistakes quickly enough.

On average the firms’ billing mistakes take almost two months to sort out.

Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch, said: “Consumers are paying hundreds or even thousands of pounds a year on household bills – the least they should expect is for these bills to be accurate.

“Billing blunders can cause consumers to end up out of pocket, as well as wasting time and effort trying to get the issue resolved.”

The shaming figures come after the Deputy Prime Minister’s promise yesterday to force the Big Six energy firms to tell customers if they are on the wrong deal.

In a speech about the government’s Green Deal, Nick Clegg said: “From this autumn, your supplier will have to contact you with the best tariff for you.”

Under the terms of the Green Deal, from autumn energy firms will be forced to invest in improving people’s homes to cut heat loss and therefore reduce the cost of bills.

“We will be requiring the energy companies to provide an estimated £1.3bn a year of support for energy efficiency,” Mr Clegg said, adding that £540m of the amount would go towards helping the worst-off families.

However the cash will be reclaimed from customers through their bills, leaving those close to fuel poverty in no better position. That prompted critics to slam the plans.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “Nick Clegg will have to do much more to convince people it will make sense to get into debt with a Green Deal loan to pay for energy efficiency measures that energy suppliers can't give away right now.”

Caroline Flint, Labour's Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary: said: “The Government is completely clueless when it comes to helping families and pensioners struggling with their fuel bills.

“Our energy market needs a complete overhaul, but this Government is only fiddling at the margins.”

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    Day In a Page

    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle